How are Plasmodium falciparum proteins directed to the parasite translocon to reach the host cell?
Dr Michal Pasternak
Imperial College London
Malaria-causing parasites need to export a large number of proteins into the infected red blood cell so that they can survive. This protein trafficking provides an attractive target for the development of antimalarial drugs but the mechanisms governing this process are poorly understood.
I will use genome editing and super-resolution microscopy to unravel the key steps of parasite protein export by dissecting how exported proteins are directed to the translocon, a molecular machine that enables proteins to reach the host cell. I will develop the first protocol to high-resolution images of protein trafficking inside living parasites for prolonged periods of time. I will then attempt to determine the structure of the translocon inside the cell.
With this research I hope to identify new targets for drug discovery as well as developing novel tools for studies on protein trafficking inside living parasites.